Chapter 52: A Touch With Arrogance, A Step Into Cultivation (2)

The naming convention was considered ordinary…

The revelation struck An Fei with the striking force of a sledgehammer, causing the girl to stare at the array of books in a dumb manner. Her mouth agape, she wondered amongst the people here whether she was insane, or they were.

…an instant later, she decided with conviction that she was the one insane.

“<Cloudmist Steps>, not a bad technique, hm,” one of the young scholars dressed in the three-patterned lotus approached An Fei and the maidservants.

Raising the blue leather-bound book to carefully examine it, the scholar pondered for a moment with furrowed brows before handing it to a nonchalant Xiao Wen.

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“<Cloudmist Steps>, revolving spiritual essence through a cyclidic pattern spanning several acupuncture points in the feet to achieve an instantaneous, temporary increase in speed. Not a bad technique that possesses potential for until the Core Formation Stage, but…”

“Something wrong?” Xiao Ying asked in doubt, gazing deeply at the book in Xiao Wen’s hands.

“<Cloudmist Steps>, though created for both genders, will cripple females upon practicing the technique beyond the third stage,” the other scholar sighed, shaking his head.

“The Eight Winds acupuncture point is significantly weaker in females compared to males; this acupuncture point is significant and plays a central role in the <Cloudmist Steps>, particularly in the fourth to seventh layers of the technique. Though there have been a lucky few female practitioners who had survived the stress concentrated at that single point and advanced their technique, it’s advised not to partake in such a risk.”

“…thank you,” An Fei finally replied after sinking into a brief moment of thought.

However, the girl quickly raised her head to gaze at the two scholars through the veil in doubt.

“Why are generous to strangers you’ve never met? It can’t be that-“

“Hehe, there’s no need to question or motives,” the scholar on the left chuckled, an innocent smile decorating his stalwart countenance.

“We’re just adepts here, so we have considerable amounts of free time. Additionally, by explaining concepts to you, we can similarly learn and reflect on any hidden mistakes. After all, our greatest pursuit as scholars is knowledge.”

Xiao Wen raised an eyebrow at the statement, but shrugged after being unable to detect any fallacy in the young scholar’s words. Turning to the vast array of books strewn across the table, the maidservant swept her arm across the entire collection.

“Can you help us determine what these techniques entail as well?”

“Of course,” the scholar on the right smiled, before picking up a green, fabric-bound book that was as thin as a fingernail’s width.

“<Azure Dragon Qi>. A technique based on the enhancement of the Governing Meridian within the body, with the intention of accelerating the absorption of spiritual essence and circulating it throughout the body at times of need. Honestly, however, outside of the meagre supplementary effects, the <Azure Dragon Qi> technique provides no benefit beyond the Foundation Establishment Realm.”

“<Flowing Wind Sword>… quite a mysterious technique in pure honesty. There’s only two layers within the technique, one to draw and combat with the jian at close range, and the other is to control the sword from afar. However, the major drawback is its unknown and ridiculous unpredictability; you can have a practitioner fail to achieve any sufficient combat ability with this technique, or succeed in slaughtering Core Formation and even early Nascent Soul cultivators with ease.”

“<Ghostly Trail>. Completely unsuitable for females, for this technique is far too aggressive in nature. Acclimating oneself to the strict training regimes imposes great bodily risk to a female practitioner especially in structure and appearance, and for a delicate Young Miss, this technique is calling for suicide.”

“<Royal Execution>… a sword technique that concentrates spiritual essence along a thin line to perform a killing blow… but… is the Young Miss truly interested in wielding a heavy broadsword?”

The young scholar asked, his countenance displaying an expression of interest as he played with the gold-covered book. Hearing the description, An Fei had no choice but to shake her head.

…why were all of the techniques she had chosen either established for men, or for others unlike her physique and constitution?

“Thank you for taking the time to explain all of these techniques,” Xiao Ying courteously thanked the two young scholars.

Pursing her lip for a few moments, the maidservant then dipped into a low curtsey, her head lowered with a tinge of shame.

“Then can the two esteemed scholars… recommend a set of techniques for our Young Miss to practice?”

The two scholars were slightly taken aback at the sudden request issued by Xiao Ying, not to mention An Fei and Xiao Wen who stood by the maidservant’s side.

However, to their great surprise, both scholars nodded in acquiescence after glancing at each other and silently deliberating for several moments.

“Then we’ll happily partake in such a delightful offer! The three of you still have two and a half sichen remaining to select a set of cultivation and martial arts techniques, that’s aplenty for us to recommend a technique or two. Furthermore, a beauty to chat with, and pursuing knowledge at the same time, our meagre desires are wholesomely fulfilled!”

An Fei revealed a wry smile that was hidden behind the veil, and proceeded to help Xiao Ying gently slot the books back into their respective locations on the bookshelf.

Noticing their actions, the two scholars couldn’t help but display a look of admiration and approval, and their attitude became much more warmer and cordial.

“To be completely honest, however,” the scholar leading in the front helplessly remarked with a desolate expression.

His partner would occasionally extract a book from the shelves they passed, take a fleeting glance at An Fei, then slot it back in with a helpless shake of the head.

“The techniques contained within the first ten levels of the repository are simply far too lackadaisical and meagre compared to those located on the eleventh through fifteenth floors. However, those who possess the permission to enter such a forbidden region are restricted a figure countable on a single hand. Even if we’ve joined the Three Lotus Sect since a young age, more than a decade ago, we still haven’t even obtained a glimpse of those sacred floors.”

“…not even members of the sect guarding the library can enter?” An Fei asked in curiosity.

“Then how…”

“Hehe,” the other scholar replied with a joking smile that contained hints of self-deprecation.

“Not even our Sect Master can dream of touching those upper layers, much less us insignificant little scholars. But none of that! Young Miss, do you have a preference on a cultivation technique or martial arts technique?”

The girl mutely shook her head, causing the group to freeze and stare deeply at her, their countenances unnatural and rather complex.

“…none at all?”

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The leading scholar asked, his forehead visibly quivering with an indescribable expression.

When An Fei blindly shook her head for the second time, the two maidservants and the two scholars all palmed their face. Letting out a puff of depressed air, the four abruptly dashed to a different region of the vast platform, leaving a befuddled An Fei completely alone.

“…did I say something wrong…?”

Tilting her head in confusion, the girl could only shake her head and shrug to herself after the noticeable and obvious lack of a response. Turning around to face the wall of books facing resolutely back towards her, An Fei pushed her bottom lip into an adorable pout.

…not like anyone could see it.

Sighing to herself, the girl carefully approached the bookshelf directly before her, her eyes scrutinizing each book crammed within the mahogany case. Some books appeared to contain a few pages at maximum; others spanned several centimeters in thickness, giving the menacing impression of a hefty textbook.

However, the colored light that she had hopefully expected was not present in any of the shelved books but one.

The cover was plated in a silver material with leather bindings clasping each end. From the stamped letters on the cover, a faint and pale cyan radiance was exuded from the book and captured within An Fei’s anticipatory gaze.

Just from the sheer width alone, An Fei could easily estimate the book to contain well over several hundred pages of information…

“<Heart of Snow>…?”

Her interest whetted by the title of the book and the presence of a colored light, An Fei reached out with her right hand to grasp the thick book by its spine. Just as her fingers were about to touch the silvery spine of the book, a cold voice rang out behind her.

“Halt. That cultivation and martial arts technique <Heart of Snow> belongs to me.”

Her fingers freezing on the surface of the leather and silver cover of the manual, An Fei’s gaze rotated to settle on a woman in a pure white dress, her beautiful countenance partially obscured by a thick veil of a fabric as white as snow.

…wasn’t this the ‘rumored beauty’ of the Sword Marquis’s manor, the one who had stood next to the considerably pesky Jiang Yi Fan?

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